" ITREALMS: Kidnapped by the mobile networks - ITREALMS

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Kidnapped by the mobile networks - ITREALMS

Telecoms Clinic@ITREALMS ... making leadership SENSE with digital news!

Disappointed by mobile network, Ofor Dike was held hostage for no fault of his. REMMY NWEKE writes that this may affect the adoption of electronic transactions in the country.
Telecoms Clinic: Kidnapped by the mobile networks - ITREALMS
A moderate average man, Mazi Ofor Dike prefers not to have a complicated lifestyle since the evolution of digital revolution in the country. Hence, he would chose wireless to wired and electronic transactions against cash, anytime, any day.

An electronic transaction is the sale or purchase of goods or services, whether between businesses, households, individuals, governments, and other public or private organisations, conducted over computer-mediated networks.

Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) is a communications protocol standard for securing credit card transactions over networks, specifically, the Internet. SET was not itself a payment system, but was developed by the likes of VISA and MasterCard alongside other technology-driven companies such as GTE, IBM, Microsoft, Netscape, RSA and VeriSign when it was introduced in 1996. SET, ITREALMS gathered from open sourced online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, was designed to fulfill the requirements for e-commerce security that were not being fulfilled by Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security ( TLS ).

For Ofor Dike, anything other than ease of life, count him out, and so he was among those who canvassed for dual Subscriber Identification Modules (SIMs) in a mobile phone when it became obvious Nigerians needed more than one network to always remain connected due to instability of mobile telecom networks at times, and would not like to be caught napping when eventually the Chinese began to manufacture a single mobile phone with multiple SIM values, thus he loves e-lifestyle that embodies technologies.

Penultimate Tuesday, he decided to step out without his wallet where most of his Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are stored with hope that his mobile phone alone will suffice for the transaction he wanted to do, which is below N10,000 only. It was not until after his purchases at a nearby store, some 200 meters away and wanted to pay that it dawned on him that the store owner, a lady said she would prefer cash on request for her bank details to do a transfer using the USSD via his phone. That is the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) available on a Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) protocol that is used to send text messages.

On Ofor Dike’s insistence, the lady opted for additional 50 kobo or N1 as bank charges because according her, the bank will charge her and she wanted her money complete after deduction.

At first, Ofor agreed and tried to use the USSD on three occasions, they failed with you don’t have access to this account and on some other trials, he was told the request can’t be completed with some reference code.

Initially, he thought it may be from his data network and had to switch to the second SIM data only to be given the same feedback, hence he realized it may be bank network problems.

By this time, one of his sons who joined him to the store had taken the goods he bought home trusting that ‘Dad’ would soon follow. Some 30 minutes later, Dad Ofor was yet to leave the store, unknown to the everyone including passersby, Ofor Dike has been kidnapped by the networks and he could not even bail himself out.

Whilst thinking on way out, he thought of calling the wife, but her two lines were switched off, because Ikeja Electric has not repented from the genetic problem of Never Expect Power Always (NEPA) syndrome which forced Mrs Dike not to charge her phone fully. Ofor also attempted called a niece nearby, the number rang out without response. Equally, he thought of calling a neighbor who has a store nearby, but the number rang out. He was later to learn that because of traits of NEPA, the neighbor was using generating set and the noise could not allow them to hear when the phone rang whereas attending to customers.

Still not discouraged, Ofor Dike armed with his mobile phone, remembered the mobile app of his depositor bank, and quickly rebooted the phone for a start, then went to the app only to be told that he can’t sign into the account. He tried the second and third times, all responses were the same. Only then, he began to get worried, wondering if the bank has blocked his account, even without any incident report.

In effort to face the situation and free himself from the hostage taken by networks, Ofor Dike started searching his pockets; from two shirt pockets to four in his trouser. Luckily for him, some N1,500 was recovered and this became the first tranche. At first, he was concerned if the shop owner would accept that as deposit, but he told himself there is no harm in trying.

So, he approached the lady and showed her one of the messages from network errors with the deposit of N1500. Gladly his offer was accepted with a promise to get her balance in cash. That was how Ofor walked away back to the house, fetched his ATM and headed out to a nearby POS, cash the money, and went straight to the store as promised

The lesson inhere is that one may trust technology but not 100 per cent as it may fail you at the least hours.

Also, always have plan ‘C’ as one can see that from Ofor Dike’s plan ‘A’ USSD to the plan ‘B’ his mobile app failed, therefore leaving your home without relevant wallet may be a security risk after all.

This goes to show that there are still a lot of works to be done by both the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), despite multiple charges by the banks; from the use of USSD to alerts.

The earlier these are streamlined the better, otherwise more people especially traders may continue to distance themselves from electronic transactions, thereby having more money out of the banking system not minding its core reasons for changing the recent Naira notes.

It’s evident that everyone may not be Ofor Dike, who is determined to leverage technologies for electronic transactions, so the earlier the better.

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